Hanging it up, Chief Feltis retires after 32 years of service

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Rachel Barton
  • 434th ARW Public Affairs

After more than 32 years serving in the United States Air Force, Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Feltis, 434th Maintenance Squadron assistant senior enlisted leader, hung up the uniform on Sept. 11.

Maj. Brad Palm, 434th Maintenance Squadron commander, officiated the ceremony and spoke of Chief Feltis’ unwavering service to the country.

“He requested to not have a retirement ceremony,” said Palm. “He wanted to serve till the very end and start the next chapter in his life.”

Feltis was eventually persuaded to have a ceremony. He decided that if he was going to retire ceremoniously, he wanted it to happen on Sept. 11.

“He chose this day for his retirement because that was the day that changed how the Air Force Reserve deployed,” said Palm. “Deploying now had a whole different meaning, deploying meant we’re going to war to defend our American way of life.”

Feltis was activated in the years after the tragic events of September 11th. He deployed to Hickam to provide an air bridge for troops and materials headed to Afghanistan and deployed several times in support of Operation Noble Eagle Eagle, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“When he rose his right hand and swore to protect and defend this country from enemies both foreign and domestic, he followed through and never hesitated,” said Palm. “You have served faithfully and the legacy of service to country and your fellow Airmen will live forever!”

Palm presented Feltis with the Meritorious Service Medal then ordered the publishing of the promotion order, with an official retirement date of Apr. 28, 2022. After the base honor guard’s flag folding ceremony, Feltis took a moment to reflect on his military career.

“It’s kind of fitting that this ceremony is happening in September. That’s when I went to basic training back in 1985,” said Feltis. “In those days at the end of the cold war, things were a lot different. We knew who we were going to fight against. We knew how to train for it, we knew how to equip for it.”

The Chief separated from active duty in 1990. After a break in service, he joined the Air Force Reserve, working for the 434th Maintenance Group here.

“When I joined the reserve in 1996 it was pretty much the same way, but I was hired full time in August 2001 and a month later, September rolls around,” he said. “September 11th. . . It changed us. It changed the reserve forces in a lot of ways. I would say the majority of the ways it changed us were good. What I mean by ‘good’ is I think it made us more capable to step up whenever and wherever we were needed.”

Feltis wrapped up his heartfelt speech to friends, family and military members in attendance with words of appreciation for those he has served with, and confidence in the Airmen who continue to serve.

“As I’m retiring, I know that myself and my family are in good hands,” he said. “I’ve worked alongside, both past and present, so many impressive and dedicated individuals here at the 434th. It’s been a real honor to have served with all of you.”

He may have hung up the uniform, but his dedication has led him to continue working in a civilian capacity on the base.

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. The Citizen Airmen from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.

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